Our core business is large publishers however in recent years we have printed many self-published books. These customers typically print much smaller volumes of books and are less familiar with the book printing process. Another common thread we see is that individual authors are less likely to return for a reprint. This seldom has to do with the service they received and is typically related to the phenomenon that is self-publishing.
A recent article in Forbes by Suw Charman-Anderson, a contributing author, points out the anomaly of “easy come, easy go” publishing (our words not hers). In her article she touches on the fact that many of the barriers to publishing have disappeared. Not only is it easier for individual authors to publish their work, it is easier for them to do it before they are ready; something traditional publishing houses served as a filter for.
Suw also points out how social media has made it easier for authors to promote their work. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus make it incredibly easy to reach a broad spectrum of people with relatively little cost. Building a digital presence through blogging or setting up a simple website has also made it more attractive for authors to self-publish their work. An unintended side effect occurs when authors succumb to the temptation of promoting their work before it is finished.
So what can you do to ensure you won’t make your first and most glaring mistakes in public?
Utilize an editing service for your writing mechanics and content. Look at this as more of an investment than a cost for getting your book to market. If you don’t invest, what do you stand to lose if your work is not well received? A fresh perspective on your work from a professional can make all the difference.
Wait until your book is finished before promoting it. It is very tempting to start touting your wares on social media and the internet in general. Hold off until you actually have something tangible and polished to promote. It is best to wait until all stages in the process have finished (i.e. writing, editing and printing) before promotion begins.
Network with other authors who have been successful at self-publishing: If you can’t talk to them personally, at least you may be able to follow them in social media and read their blogs to see how you can recreate their success.
Most importantly of all, be patient. Some of the best things in life take time to make.
Do you think some authors have published their work too soon? Are there any tasks you wish you would have done before bringing a book to market?